Liver Pate

May 17, 2010

  • 1 pound chicken livers, cleaned
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 stick cold sweet butter
  • 1 small apple, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Cognac or Calvados
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Carefully remove all veins from chicken livers. Pat dry and set aside.

Sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons of butter until soft, about 3 minutes. Add apple and cook another 3 minutes. Put into food processor.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter, season the chicken livers and add to pan, sautéing over high heat for about 4 minutes (2 minutes a side). They should be brown on the outside but still pink within. Remove from heat, take away from the stove and add Cognac. Return to heat and carefully put a lighted match into the pan, swirling, until all the flames die down and all alcohol has burned off. Add to food processor.

Pour in the cream and puree until smooth. Add the remaining butter, bit by bit, until smooth. Season to taste, then pour into little bowls or crocks and chill for at least 3 hours.  

Bring to room temperature before serving.

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May 17, 2010

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 3/4 cups almonds, ground
  • 1/ 3/4 cups flour, or a bit more
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 jar raspberry jam
  • 1/3 jar red or black currant jam
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and the egg yolk. Mix in the ground almonds and as much flour as you need to make a very stiff dough. Mix in the cinnamon. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.

Separate 1/3 of the dough from the rest and roll out the larger piece to fit into an 8-inch cake pan. Put the dough into the pan and brush a little egg white (if you’ve saved it from the dough) over it.

While that dries, mix together the 2 jams and add the rind and juice of the lemon. Mix well and pour into crust.

Make strips with the reserved dough and cover the top of the pie with a lattice. Brush with egg white.  Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Sift a little confectioner’s sugar over the torte as it comes out of the oven.

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Janson’s Temptation

May 17, 2010

Serves 5

This is one of those recipes that was enormously popular in the sixties and then sort of vanished. But the combination of potatoes with the richness of cream and the snap of anchovies is quite remarkable, and lately I’ve been making this a lot. It is best with russet potatoes.

  • 5 potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 can anchovies
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Half and Half

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a baking dish. Put in half the potatoes, then the onions, then the anchovies then the other half of the potatoes. Dot with butter and bake for 10 minutes. Add half of the cream and bake for 10 more minutes. Add the rest of the cream and bake for one half hour more.

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Aunt Birdies’ Potato Salad

May 17, 2010

Aunt Birdie was 102 when she died in 1980. But she was still making her famous potato salad, and it was still wonderful. This is a very spare salad – quite unlike the mayonnaise version you may be used to – but it brings out all the sweetness of the potatoes. It gets better as it sits; I like it best on about day 3.

  • 3 pounds small potatoes
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 or 2 onions
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Boil potatoes in jackets, when cool enough to handle peel and slice.

Cut onions and mix into the potatoes.  Season with salt, pepper and sugar.  Over this add oil, mix.

Dilute vinegar with a little water, bring to a boil and add this while hot over the potatoes.  Mix well.

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Pesto Sauce

May 17, 2010

Hard to believe now, but when I wrote the book in 1971, Pesto seemed extraordinarily exotic. My editor had never heard of it. I still think it’s one of the most delicious things on the face of the earth.

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoons pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Put all the ingredients except the cheese into a blender and blend until well mixed.

Stir in cheese.

This keeps well in the refrigerator if you seal the top with a layer of oil.  This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Notes: This is pre-food processor recipe, but it’s a LOT easier to make with a food processor than a blender.  It’s helpful to grind up the garlic first, then the pine nuts and finally the basil.

If you’re using this for pasta, add about 3 tablespoons of sweet butter at the end, and stir in some of the pasta cooking water to thin it out before tossing it all together.

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